Houston Texans Draft: Payton Turner could add to rebuild of roster

Houston Cougars defensive lineman Payton Turner Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Cougars defensive lineman Payton Turner Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
Payton turner, Houston Texans
Houston Cougars defensive lineman Payton Turner Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Texans as of early April don’t have a draft pick until No. 67 overall rolls around in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. That is a long wait on Day 2 to see 66 players be selected before the Texans make a pick, but maybe that patience will pay off.

A player who could be on the board early in the third round for the Houston Texans is edge rusher Payton Turner of the University of Houston, as he does have a lot of positives entering the NFL as a rookie. There is no doubt that Turner should be a Day 2 selection, and with the Texans still needing to add to their pass rush, Turner fills that need as the Texans work to rebuild and restructure their franchise.

The 6’5, 270-pound Turner measured in with 35″ arms and 10.25″ hands, and according to NFL.com Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein, Turner has “overwhelming size and length for a 4-3 end,” and “plenty of upside left for continued development.”

Currently, the defensive ends for the Texans are Charles Omenihu, Maliek Collins, P.J. Hall, Derek Rivers and Duke Ejiofor according to OurLads.com’s Texans depth chart. Though there is potential with Omenihu and Collins, there needs to be more when it comes to this group, and that is where Turner of UH comes into play.

Turner made a name for himself this past season with Houston, even though he played in just five games. In those games (which were against Memphis, UCF, Navy, BYU and Tulane), Turner collected 17 solo tackles, five sacks and one forced fumbles. Turner’s five sacks all came in four games, as two of his sacks were in his ’20 season debut vs. Tulane, and in four of the games played he had no fewer than three solo tackles.

Houston Texans Draft: Payton Turner has lots of potential for 2021 season

Before last season, Turner had just five total sacks combined from 2017-19, and he also collected one career interception back in ’17. Being that he’s 6’5, there is a lot of potential in not only the edge rush of his game if Turner can keep adding to the player he worked to be in ’20, but with the proper NFL coaching, there is a chance he works on his passes defensed stat as well.

Though he had zero passes defensed in ’20, in the first three seasons of his collegiate career Turner collected nine passes defensed, including four each in ’18 and ’19.

The best part about the game of Turner is his potential hasn’t been met yet, and he could become a steal in the draft if he makes it to the 67th overall selection. The Texans need to make the correct decisions, and working on the pass rush and the EDGE position for the franchise is a top priority this year.

With J.J. Watt no longer with the franchise, the safety net the Houston Texans had there is gone, and there is a lot for everyone to prove moving into 2021.

Having Omenihu and Collins at defensive end helps ease the process of the rebuild, but more is needed for depth and rotation purposes, and Turner would be a nice fit, plus he’s already familiar with the city as he’s played for UH the past four seasons and is a Houston native.

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Turner just might be the perfect hometown fit for the Texans as they are starting fresh with the front office, coaching staff and roster to a certain degree. With a player like Turner possibly waiting in the early stages of the third round, the Houston Texans must take a serious look at him as they decide who they want to draft when that selection is on the clock.